Commonalities in Segmentation Processes: Are There Any?

I will end with a similar question to the one I started with: What—if anything—do diverse segmentation processes have in common? A detailed comparison reveals that in fact, there is very little in common, and almost no generalizations one can make about segmentation as a developmental process. This is in contrast with segments as morphological units, w'hich while probably convergent, do have enough in common to justify being discussed together. Nonetheless, there are numerous restricted developmental commonalities, found in specific taxa. The phylogenetic distribution of these commonalities in different aspects of the process allows a reconstruction of the evolutionary history of segmentation, both as a developmental and as a morphological phenomenon. This makes it possible to identify specific nodes in animal phylog- eny where there were significant changes in development that led to segments in the first place (Chipman, 2019) and nodes where there were changes in the development of segments once they had evolved (Balavoine, 2014; Stahi and Chipman, 2016). Coupled with information from the fossil record, and with data about morphology and life history, we can begin to reconstruct the success story of segmented animals and to understand how and why they evolved.


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Section II

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